As anyone who has read any of my reviews already knows I'm not big on the environment-specific figures and vehicles out there. I like stuff I can use anywhere like planes, cars, tanks, etc... and I'm really not a big fan of boats. I know boats and water-based vehicles have their place, and there have been some terrific ones over the years for G.I. Joe, but for the most part, I just don't dig them a whole lot.

Well, the Ocean Attack might just change my mind, because while it still just a boat, it still manages to be an amazingly fun little vehicle with lots of play value and a great figure to go along with it.

PACKAGING/PRESENTATION

As we've come to expect, the packaging is just perfect, with a nice dramatic action scene featuring the included toy doing all of the things it should be doing. The picture is great, the water is rendered to pure beauty and it sells the toy perfectly. You can't go wrong with packaging like this, and the Mission Manuals only further compliment some beautiful presentation:




A combination of imagination and outline gives you a rundown of what the toy comes with and what it's designed to do. It gives you a great sense of realism and gives the vehicle some extra personality that it might not have on it's own. Not only that, but it ties in other vehicles from the line and gives you a great first mission to do when you first get your Thunderwave jet boat out of it's package. And of course, the instructions are present as well:

The Toys

The Thunderwave boat itself is deceptively simple in design. It looks like a plain rubber raft with rollcage, front mount cannon, etc. And at its essence, that is all the Thunderwave is. It's not meant to be complex or over-the-top, it's really just a simple water vehicle that doesn't do much, but what it does do, it does very well.

Design-wise, the boat is straight forward, but is still sculpted very well. Simple design elements and realistic sculpting all add up to a fun little vehicle, which could appear here in the real world, or in ten years. I don't know about everyone else either, but sometimes all it takes is one specific part of a vehicle to draw me in. One small component of that larger craft that looks so cool that the entire vehicle is suddenly more appealing. For me, it's that front cannon. The sloped armor weapon-guard combined with the three-barrel configuration all just looks so cool that I immediately felt myself drawn to it. Even though I'm not much of a watercraft fan, that one weapon element is something I really love, and it ends up making the rest of the vehicle all that more appealing. Not to mention the jet ski itself. That's such a neat part of the vehicle that it immediately raises the cool value of it overall.

The Thunderwave, like a number of the mini vehicles from this line, contains a wealth of play features. By far the most advertised one is the torpedo motor, which involves a rather large torpedo-shaped attachment that slides into the bottom tab of the watercraft and has a battery powered motor inside, which propels it through the water. It's actually a lot quieter than I thought it would be, and works fairly well. You should make sure the Thunderwave is well-balanced...don't put the missile launcher on one side of it. As long as it's evenly balanced, it floats well and the motor propels it pretty nicely.

This set also has a familiar docking connector so that the Dragonhawk can deploy the boat where it sees fit to do what it needs to do, and this little feature is such a cool one for all of the vehicles it's included with.

There are also a bunch of other little bits and pieces like a searchlight, antenna, missile launcher, etc... to put where you want to put them. One problem I have is the little machine gun mount meant to go on the Wave Crusher jet ski. It's supposed to attach to an included weapon, but I can't find a place for it to fit. The mount point on the mount itself is so narrow that the trigger is the only place it will fit, and while that looks okay, it's not what the instructions describe, and I think it would be more practical for it to fit further up on the weapon. I'll probably end up widening mine with an exacto or something, but just something to be aware of. If anyone comes up with a better way for this mount to fit, please let us all know.

Of course, the jet ski also comes out of the Thunderwave and becomes it's own little mini vehicle, which is very neat. It actually hooks into the boat very securely, yet still manages to pop out easily enough, too. This small, but effective feature was very nicely executed. The Wave Crusher jet ski itself is darn cool, too, it even has a hood that flips up to reveal an engine underneath!

Given my experience with other figures in this 2.5" line, I really wasn't expecting much when it came to this mini Sea Ops Duke, however I found myself quite pleasently surprised! The figure looks very nicely detailed for a smaller one, with the appropriate Sigma Suit points and great paint apps. His mask is securely fashioned and his colors are nice and dark. But where this figure really shines is the surprising level of articulation! His knees and ankles are fully ball-jointed, giving him a great range of motion. Something I was really shocked to see.

This allows him to sit comfortably in either componant of the Thunderwave, and to realistically man the handlebars or weapons on either boat. His scuba pack is also removable, so he can disembark and go into the water and look realistic doing that as well! Beyond the ball joints there, he has swivel hips, swivel shoulders, and his hands are permenantly in "handlebar grab" mode. But beyond those small limitations, I found this figure to be amazingly versatile. It also really made me wish that Hasbro beefed up the joints on other figures as well. Seeing this figure proves that they can impliment this articulation throughout the figure if they want to, hopefully we'll start to see some improvements in that regard soon.

3 3/4" Compatibility

As can be expected, the Wave Crusher jet ski is way too small for any kind of 3 3/4" figure, but the boat itself might be okay if a "real" G.I. Joe boarding party comes by:

Ehh, maybe not. :/ As you can see, the figs look pretty big, even just in the raft. Still, in spite of the size troubles, this is a cool boat, and heck, there are plenty of actual 3 3/4" scale boats if you feel like you need one. The cool thing is, too, that these cannons will fit in whatever DTC ratchet joints you see fit to plug them in to!

Overview

Normally I'm not a big fan of watercraft, but this vehicle is just a lot of fun. From all of the removable elements, to the design of the weapons, to the docking connector, the real working motor, and the nicely poseable figure, the Thunderwave has a suprising amount of play value for something limited to use on water. I find myself liking it a lot more than I thought I would, and it gets a decent recommendation from me as one of the mid-sized vehicles. While maybe not as useful or dramatic in appearence as the Mantis Mech, it still provides a high fun factor and a lot of terrific design points that make it worth your while.

For once the figure isn't a negative point, either! I can easily recommend this set just because of the great Sea Ops Duke that comes with it. Nice job on this one, Hasbro!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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